Scripture Thought (What I Learned):
There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.
In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)
Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!
In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)
Chapter 1: Daniel
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)
Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)
Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.
Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!
The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.
Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).
Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:
“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)
Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:
Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).
“…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.